For many years all European countries have been faced with the arrival on their territory of migrants of a particular type: unaccompanied minors. Even
though this designation varies according to each State, the term will be used throughout this study to refer to those children of less than 18 years of
age, belonging to a country outside the European Union and unaccompanied by a legal representative.
This migratory phenomenon was identified from the 1970’s in several member States and it increased during the 1990’s to reach substantial
numbers in recent years. Children from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, the Middle East or Asia, arrive in Europe this way every year in search of
protection, of a better life, or to join a member of their family.

While this problem concerns all of the 27 Member States of the European Union, these young people will receive a very different reception and be taken care of rather differently by each individual country. This great disparity in legislation and national practice is explained by the failure to deal with this problem at the European level. Many International or Community Standards related to this subject matter are applicable to the countries of the European Union, but this legislative context has not really helped to reduce the protection gap between the member States
Aware of the necessity to act on a supranational scale, the European Commission thus published an action plan for unaccompanied minors on May 5th 2010. This communication addressed to the Council and the Parliament presents in broad outline what should ensue as far as future development is concerned regarding a European policy in this area, in view of ‘increased protection’. It is in this particular context that this report is registered.
Through the analysis of legislation and practices of the eight member States (Spain, France, Great-Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Sweden), the aim is to identify good practice and prescriptive needs on a European scale, in order to improve the reception and care of unaccompanied minors in the Union. Regarding its purpose and its methodology, this report is  complementary to other comparative studies recently published on the subject.

Supervision of Laurent DELBOS (France terre d’asile), Research done by Marine CARLIER (France terre d’asile) Maria de DONATO (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati) Miltos PAVLOU (Institute for Rights, Equality and Diversity) In collaboration with Matina POULOU (i-RED), Antonio GALLARDO & Pilar MARTIN (MPDL - El Movimiento por la Paz), Nicoletta PALMIERI and Eleonora BENASSI (CIR)

Presented in Strasbourg on 20.10.2010

The complete report is available at